German states call for 30% wood quota as sustainable solution to housing shortage
Rheinische Post / Clean Energy Wire
Agriculture ministers in Germany’s states have called to make the use of wood in new housing projects easier in a bid to increase the sector’s sustainability and ease the housing shortage, newspaper Rheinische Post reports. The quota of wood in residential construction should be raised to 30 percent by 2030, they wrote in a joint letter, saying that forests and wood products make positive contributions to climate protection, resource efficiency and value creation. The current quota of wood in housing construction stands at around 20 percent, but the share is still low compared to European neighbours, the newspaper reports. Additionally, hurdles under building law for multi-storey construction remain and planning and approval procedures could be accelerated. According to the ministers, in the face of climate change, sustainable forestry would free up wood which could be used for durable products. Moreover, fast, low-emissions and efficient solutions for housing could include adding more stories to buildings in city areas using modular timber or hybrid construction methods, the paper reads.
“We have to build and live in a more climate-friendly way,” Denny Ohnesorge, head of the German Timber Industry Association (HDH), told the newspaper. The appeal by the ministers was “an important incentive”, as wood construction – being a renewable raw material, storing CO2, having a long shelf life and the ability to be reused – could save up to 50 percent of a building's emissions, he added. The buildings and agriculture ministries are working on an initiative to increase the use of sustainable materials such as wood in construction. In March, German authorities also made it easier to use clay in construction sites, another a particularly sustainable building material. The buildings sector failed its emission reduction targets in 2021 and 2022.